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Reviews for LL Bean Manatee Kayak by Perception

Rated: 8.83/10 Based On: 6 Reviews

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Submitted by: JimNHSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I purchased two LL Bean Manatee 100 kayaks for exploring local rivers and ponds. I am 6'2", 290 lbs. and was worried that I would swamp the boat, but it holds me just fine, though I sit a wee bit lower in the water than my wife. We love these kayaks. They don't track as well as a longer boat or one with a keel, but they are easy to transport (at about 40 lbs, my wife can lift it easily) and store. I would probably more comfortable in a 12' boat, but I like the smaller Manatee a lot.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We ordered our Perception 10' kayaks from LL Bean two years ago, and have loved, loved, loved them. It was something new for us, and after a maiden lake voyage, we were on our way!! We had to discover the best way to get in, to get out, and, as 60 something year olds, how not to be too sore afterwards! We found them stable with great tracking!

I would recommend these "LL Bean Manatee" Perception kayaks for anyone who loves kayaking!

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased a Manatee on sale from LL Bean. I already have a WS Tsunami 140, but wanted a smaller, lighter boat to use for local paddles. The Manatee is great for that! I got it on sale for just over $300 and I'm impressed, not only with the way it handles, but also with the little extras that make paddling just that much more relaxing. Extras such as the paddle holder, the foot pegs that adjust very easily while you're paddling, a comfortable seat, and the lower seat back...which is both comfortable and makes entering and exiting the boat so much easier. Besides all of that, she's a breeze to paddle. Very stable, and while she isn't a quick touring boat, she's not a barge either.

My daughter-in-law is new at paddling and after trying 4 or 5 other rec boats, she tried my Manatee. Her first word after paddling it was..."SWEET" she and my son want their own!
I have owned many kayaks through the years and I find the Manatee to be a great little kayak for casual flatwater paddling...and well worth the price.
Happy Paddling!

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I recently purchased the 2008 Manatee (Perception EXP) kayaks from LL Bean and are extremely happy with them. We are smaller in size and these boats fit us perfectly. They are light weight and easy to transport. The cockpit is roomy and comfortable. The kayaks track well, are easily maneuverable and overall perform well in the water. We would recommend these to anyone looking for a very high quality recreational kayak.
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Submitted by: GretchenSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I LOVE my Manatee!
This is the first kayak Ive owned and it is just what I wanted. I only go to calm waters and its just perfect for lakes and slow moving rivers(this is all I am physically able to do). The cockpit is VERY roomy. I am 6 foot 1 and I have the perfect amount of room length wise and width wise. I have the robins egg blue one from LL Bean (2008 model). Great little boat!

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     First off, I should point out that as far as I can tell, the Manatee, is a re-badged Perseption Swifty. I've seen them side by side and they are identical...(the Manatee even includes a Perception water bottle as part of the package) This is my first kayak, although I have canoed for years. I bought it on a whim while vacationing last year in Maine. The Manatee is made of plastic and is short and wide with a roomy cockpit. I am 5' 8" and can sit with my legs folded up or straight out. Weighing 39lbs, it is easy to load on the car. The seat is nothing to write home about, but comfortable enough for several hour trips. As might be expected of a short wide craft, it is very stable but doesn't track very well. Almost immediately I regretted not buying a longer craft. On the positive side, I took it out in the ocean and rode out some prety large swells with perfect confidence. It also will turn on a dime, something that longer kayaks don't do as well.

Recently, I went kayaking with a friend in a Necky Manitou 13. We traded off so I had an opportunity to compare the Manatee with a sleeker craft. Although I was able to keep up with the Necky, I had to expend much more effort. It soon became evident that the longer craft would track and glide much better than the Manatee. Where the Manatee did shine was when we came to some small rapids and current. The shorter kayak was much more maneuverable and less susseptible to getting turned sideways in the current.

The bottom line is that there are trade-offs. While not the sleekest craft, the Manatee is very stable and can slip in and out of tight places easily. It is a good kayak for beginners, but if you are looking for performance.....spend a little more and get something longer and sleeker.

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